Today, I went on a trip to RAL organised by some of the guys and girls at London Hackspace; getting to Didcot Parkway from work for about 12:30, headed up to Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, just outside Didcot, at Harwell

In the room we all met for the tours they had some cool stuff including an IBM System/360 front end

IBM System/360 front end

IBM System/360 front end

IBM System/360 front end

IBM System/360 front end

Our tour group was destine for tours of Vulcan, and ISIS’ Test Stations,

Vulcan Laser

The Vulcan laser is an 8-beam 2.5 kJ per (~2 nanosecond) pulse infrared neodymium glass laser at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory’s Central Laser Facility in Oxfordshire, England. Vulcan is also capable of operating in frequency doubled mode where it can deliver about 1 kJ to a target at 532 nm in 2 ns pulses. One of Vulcan’s beams is also available as an ultra-short pulse (~700 Joules in ~700 femtosecond) ultra-high intensity beam using chirped pulse amplification called the “Vulcan petawatt”. Main uses for Vulcan and Vulcan petawatt are the investigation of high intensity light-matter coupling experiments and inertial confinement fusion experiments including the investigation of the “fast ignition” scheme of target implosion. In 2005 the Vulcan laser was the highest-intensity focused laser in the world, capable of producing a Petawatt laser beam with a focused intensity of 10^21 watts per cm^2.

A sheet of neodymium glass from one of the laser amplifiers

A sheet of neodymium glass from one of the laser amplifiers

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Laser Amplifier tubes; these 8 tubes (2 on the back wall, and 6 in 2 x 3 configuration on the rack in front) each contain 6 of the sheets of neodymium glass as above, excited by photo tubes.

While looking round Vulcan, we also got to see one of the three experimental stations; Vulcan West

Photos of Vulcan West, including Target Vacuum Vessel.

This is Target Fabrication

This is Target Fabrication

This is a target, its mounted in a small plastic box, when running in the experiment the target is mounted in the blue vacuum vessel seen above.

This is a target, its mounted in a small plastic box, when running in the experiment the target is mounted in the blue vacuum vessel seen above.

The Vulcan Laser can pulse once every 30 minutes; which is about the same length of time is required to swap the Target, the Diagnostic film, and pump down the vacuum vessel.

ISIS (Diamond Light Source)

The ISIS Nutron and Muon source is a world-leading research centre run by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council. They use Neutrons to look deep inside materials; Neutrons penetrate deep inside the materials under investigation, and scatter off the Atoms.

To make a neutron beam, you first have to accelerate Hydrogen Ions, ISIS has two particle accelerators, a linear accelerator, and a synchrotron. Particles are accelerated in the linear accelerator by electric fields, until they are travelling at 37% of the speed of light, they are then passed to the circular synchrotron where they are striped of there electrons, leaving the Protons, where they are accelerated more; after 10,000 revolutions they are travailing at 84% the speed of light.

The bunchs of protons are then kicked out to one of two target stations; either target station one, or target station two.

In each of these target stations is a target made up of tungsten, when the particles collide with the target, neutrons are produced. these neutrons are used by the experiments.

A Nutron is a small particle, they are found in the nucleus of atoms, they are made up of three quarks: two down quarks, and one up quark. Neutrons are very common, they make up about 50% of everything on earth.

ISIS Overview Animation with VO & Subtitles from ISIS on Vimeo.

Target Station 2

 

Outside between Target Station one and two

Station X

Target Station One

Target Station One’s Target Mock-up, for practising maintenance of the target, and systems

Site Model

Other peoples Photos can be found on their sites: Creature

References: here